Changing User-Agent Header in an Atom Editor Plugin

When improving Code::Stats’s Atom plugin, I wanted to add the plugin version as the User-Agent header: code-stats-atom/x.y.z. I used the fetch API and set the header there but it did nothing! By googling a bit I found that User-Agent used to be a “dangerous” header that wasn’t allowed to be set in browsers. It was only recently allowed, but Chromium has not implemented support for it.

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Testing GitLab and Moving Mebe

I’ve known GitLab has existed for a long time, but haven’t really paid any attention to it before. This week I decided to take a closer look and it looks really nice. The UI is much better than the new horrid BitBucket UI at least, and it offers free private repos like BitBucket does. As a bonus, it’s mostly open source and that’s something I want to support.

So I’m moving at least all my stuff from BitBucket over, like Mebe’s repo. Not sure yet if I’ll move Code::Stats’s stuff over. GitLab’s builtin CI stuff does seem tempting though.

MBU Published to Hex.pm

People commented so nicely on my first build tool FBU that I decided to push it to the Elixir package manager Hex.pm. I renamed it, though, since people pointed out that it could be used to build anything, not just the front end. So now it’s called (still unimaginatively) MBU: Mix Build Utilities.

You can find it at hex.pm/packages/mbu and the docs are in Hexdocs.

FBU: My First Build Tool™

EDIT 2017-04-04: I have since renamed the project to MBU: Mix Build Utilities and published it on Hex.pm: hex.pm/packages/mbu. I have edited the links and code examples in this post to reflect that.


tl;dr I wrote my own build tool using Elixir’s Mix: Nicd/mbu.

It’s no secret that I somewhat dislike the state of modern web development. JavaScript is its own terrible world, but one of the sad parts of it is the ecosystem and tooling around it. There’s a lot of innovation and hard work going on in very many fragmented projects, resulting in reimplementations of already solved problems and a ton of half working, alpha quality, 0.x versioned packages with unknown support status. With these packages, you start your project by building an elaborate house of cards that is the build system. And you dread the day when you need to touch it again.

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Pirames International: YouTube Copyright Trolls

As part of my Trainfulness project, I sometimes upload Creative Commons licensed videos to YouTube. I always make sure I have the proper licence, as I want to play fair with content creators such as NRK (the Norwegian Broadcasting Company). But lately I have received a couple of copyright claims from the company Pirames International. This would not be that much of an issue if YouTube did not make handling the cases extremely frustrating.

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Load Testing Service Comparison

This post is sponsored by Dotcom-Monitor.


Load testing is an integral part of deploying any web service. It should be done already in the development phase to find bottlenecks and after deployment when users’ usage patterns are better known. That’s not where it stops, though, as load testing can also be used as a regular part of the web service’s maintenance. Deploying new features without checking their effect on the performance of the service can be a fatal mistake, which is why load testing could be very important when integrated with a continuous integration or continuous deployment system.

In this article, I will review four different load testing services (in alphabetic order): Spirent’s Blitz.io, Load Impact, SendGrid’s Loader.io, and Dotcom-Monitor’s LoadView.

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YouTube Content Stealing Spambots on Reddit

Reddit is a good place to share content, but also a good place to attempt to make some money on clicks from unsuspecting or indifferent users. Lately I’ve been seeing a pattern regarding videos stolen from other YouTube channels, reuploaded and monetized with ads. These videos are then mass posted on Reddit by bots masquerading as real users.

tl;dr: Spambots are posting links to stolen videos on Reddit, copying comments from others to masquerade as legitimate users.

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StartEncrypt Vulnerabilities

In my last post I wrote about StartCom’s new StartEncrypt service and its misleading advertisement email. In it I mentioned that they were not using the ACME protocol that Let’s Encrypt is using, but their own StartAPI protocol, for which documentation is behind a login. Their client was also not open source.

It didn’t take long for the first security issues to be found. Computest found multiple vulnerabilities in the StartEncrypt API and client, the most critical of which allowed the user to fetch certificates for domains outside their control. Domains like google.com, facebook.com etc. The following quotes speak volumes about the security of StartEncrypt:

A malicious client can specify a path to any file on the server for which a certificate is requested. This means that, for example, anyone can obtain a certificate for sites like dropbox.com and github.com where users can upload their own files.

[…]

The client doesn’t check the server’s certificate for validity when connecting to the API, which is pretty ironic for an SSL tool.

As Computest points out, when a certificate authority publishes a service which such problems, they are undermining the thing they are paid for – the trustworthiness of their certificates. Personally, after the latest events with StartEncrypt, I would no longer recommend StartCom to anyone, for neither paid nor free certificates.

Misleading StartCom Advertisement

Before Let’s Encrypt existed, I – like many others – used to use StartSSL, which offered free domain validated TLS sertificates. It was a useful service, but not without its flaws, for example the user interface was very clumsy to use. When Let’s Encrypt arrived, the automation made me jump ship immediately. But a couple of days ago I got an email from StartCom, the company behind StartSSL, that piqued my interest.

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Announcing Code::Stats

This is a project that I’ve been working on for a month or so on my free time (of which there really isn’t too much). I started it on my company’s 12 hour hackfest, where I didn’t get anything worth showing done (it was all backend stuff), but now it’s ready to be published. *drumroll* So, it’s time for the reveal:

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